First and foremost, my heart goes out to those who lost their lives in another senseless mass shooting in Maine. For the law enforcement officers risking their lives trying to capture this person of interest, please be safe!
Every time there is one of these mass shootings, it seems people like me, a firearm owner and Certified Firearms Instructor, are on the defensive to defend themselves. The news tends to want to lump us all into one group, saying, “With no guns, we wouldn’t have this problem.”
That is another problem because the number of firearms is genuinely unknown. The federal government did not even regulate firearms until 1968. The reality is that no one, not even the federal government, knows just how many firearms its citizens own. Then there is that little thing called the Second Amendment, a constitutional right, so you can’t just say forget it and move on. Yes, even we firearm owners have rights, too.
What is the solution?
I think the first thing we need to recognize is that “police” can’t protect us, the average citizen. They cannot predict the future and say that this person or that person is going to commit a crime or that they are going to commit a mass shooting. In the insurance industry, it is called the “Law of Large Numbers,” trying to factor in what could happen, where it could happen, and who is most likely to be involved.
Opinions vs. Facts
From the various news accounts, I have gathered that the media is not trying to figure out the truth but is giving their opinions. Information is missing, and the incident should have been investigated before jumping to conclusions. We might hear about it, but we will probably have already moved on to the next major event, and this will be old news.
Family and Friends Are Victims Too
The family and friends are also victims because they will continue to suffer and wonder what life would have been like. How will this affect them? Will they think about what could have been? The families and friends of those who died may be the only ones left wondering because the media will say little or nothing about it.
Mental Health Is a Challenging Problem
Our once great country is in the midst of many trying and challenging problems, yes, including “gun control.” Is the system perfect? Obviously not, or things like this wouldn’t be happening. One thing that continues to come up repeatedly is the lack of mental health help. We don’t seem to have enough of it, and in some places, there is none at all. The other problem is that we would rather ignore the facts about what is happening because this is our world right now.
Maine has a mental health crisis, not a gun crisis. pic.twitter.com/Fi7pe6zZxy
— Paul Hookem 🇺🇸 (@PaulHook_em) October 26, 2023
We are all soft targets living in a dangerous place, and no one is immune. We should be safe at our schools, in places of worship, shopping, and walking down the street. Are we? I don’t think so because if I did, I would find something else to do with my time rather than teach my students how to defend themselves with a firearm.
This gun-free zone in Maine got people killed ⤵️
“We kindly ask that you refrain from bringing firearms in this building and we would appreciate it if you left them in your vehicle. Please keep our atmosphere family-friendly.”https://t.co/sl2XlNqbh6 pic.twitter.com/6dVBFyiVAZ
— Gun Owners of America (@GunOwners) October 27, 2023
FBI Firearm Statistics
Here is a link to the FBI Safety Resources website, something we should all commit to memory and encourage those we love to do the same thing. It gives studied information about who, what, where, when, and how to respond and maybe even prevent a tragic situation.
A Firearm Is Not Evil
This is your life we are talking about; don’t fight fair! The best way to avoid becoming a victim is not to think this could only happen to someone else and somewhere else.
Even though you have read all of this, I am confident that some still consider the “firearm” an “evil tool.” The “firearm” is doing what it is designed to do: shoot. It isn’t the “firearms” fault that an evil person used it. We all share that responsibility by being unprepared and not working to solve this problem. I believe it is something we can do.
Still, it takes a community, a country, and a government that is willing to work together and not point fingers of blame at each other.
My dad always used to say, “It doesn’t take a genius to burn down a barn.” Maybe we all need to quit trying to get our own way and work together to fix the problem rather than start over.